Washington D.C., October 21, 2021— The 2021 Global SME Finance Forum Awards winners were announced today on during the virtual conference 2021 Global SME Finance Forum. To learn who the winners are, please visit https://www.smefinanceforum.org/awards-2021
Organized by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum and endorsed by the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), the Global SME Finance Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients.
Launched in 2018 and now in its fourth year, the Global SME Finance Awards were set up to recognize the commitments and distinguished achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering outstanding products and services to their SME clients and helping them grow. As governments around the world wrestle to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its unparalleled impact on national economies and people’s lives, the entrants for this year’s competition embody the creative resilience and responsiveness of financiers and FinTechs from across the globe to serve the SME sector.
“Building more resilient SMEs is critical to the world’s economic recovery,” said Paulo de Bolle, Global Senior Director of the Financial Institutions Group at IFC. “The Global SME Finance Awards showcase innovative approaches that can contribute to this resilience and provide an opportunity to share knowledge and good practices.”
Anna Zelentsova, GPFI co-Chair said, “The G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion is very pleased to see the innovations demonstrated by these competitors. They are helping tackle the short-term challenges of COVID19 while encouraging the digitalization of micro, small and medium enterprises that also will make them more finance-worthy and competitive over the longer-term. As co-chair of the GPFI I am very pleased to see the SME Finance Forum’s annual competition continuing to bring out the best in the global SME finance Industry.”
The Global SME Finance Awards recognize institutions that have successfully launched an innovative product or service for SME clients, that have achieved impressive results in expanding finance to SMEs, that have shown specific prowess in serving women-owned SMEs and are innovators in responsible financial services. The Best Bank for Women Entrepreneurs category is organized each year in partnership with the IFC Banking on Women Initiative.
Magda Bianco, GPFI co-Chair said, “As co-chair of the G20’s Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, I’m impressed by the work we see in this competition from the world’s leading MSME financiers. They have introduced new solutions in lending, payments, insurance and even non-financial services. They are enabling micro, small and medium enterprises to join digital ecosystems and marketplaces, while at the same time helping them safeguard their private data, and to improve their own financial literacy and management. The greater provision and use of digital financial tools, services, and channels during the COVID-19 crisis – when these tools are designed in a way that considers above all the interest of recipients - is providing many benefits to MSMEs, including enhanced access to government financial aid and to financial products and services; stronger operational resilience; and even breakthroughs in innovative regulations.”
Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum said: “Every year we see more and more impressive institutions doing incredible things to help improve SMEs’ access to finance. We see great innovations, we see new opportunities for redressing past imbalances due to gender, age and other inequities, and we see new ways to put the customer first and ensure that financing is responsible and truly beneficial. The 2021 competition brings us more of the same – bigger innovations, bigger achievements, and bigger potential.”
About the SME Finance Forum
The SME Finance Forum works to expand access to finance for small and medium businesses. The Forum operates a global membership network that brings together financial institutions, technology companies, and development finance institutions to share knowledge, spur innovation, and promote the growth of SMEs. Established in 2012 by the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the SME Finance Forum is managed by IFC. For more information, visit http://www.smefinanceforum.org
About the Global SME Finance Forum 2021
As governments around the world wrestle to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its unparalleled impact on national economies and people’s lives, the crisis also provides a rare opportunity to reimagine the future, and to build a greener, more sustainable and more resilient world by addressing the existential threat of climate change and concordant challenges. Green finance, which promotes investments and related services for the development and implementation of sustainable business models, and for investment, trade, economic, environmental and social projects, has grown rapidly in different countries and regions. Green finance has become a high priority for many governments and large corporations, largely due to the urgency of climate change. While significant progress has been made in driving the growth of green finance, little of this has touched SMEs, despite the fact that they contribute substantially to job creation and economic growth, cumulatively accounting for significant environmental and social problems. The Global SME Finance Forum 2021 focused on the importance of greening SME finance and its role in promoting more resilient and sustainable growth post COVID-19 and will also address some of the key issues and challenges vis-a-vis greenwashing, data benchmarking, and verification and misalignment of supply and demand. The event convened global thought leaders, climate finance advocates, leading experts and practitioners in the field of SME finance to share their vision, insight and experience in promoting green finance for SMEs.
The awards ceremony video will be posted soon.
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